Tovino Thomas always enjoyed impressing his classmates with stunning makeovers at the Tamil Nadu College of Engineering, Coimbatore where he pursued his BE in Electronics and Communication. Today, this actor, who is seven films old in the industry, is garnering praise for his role in Ennu Ninte Moideen. He played Appu, a soccer playing lovelorn youth of a Kerala village in the 1960s. We get talking to the actor to know about his life in college...
What did college life mean to you?
Moving to Coimbatore was my first experience of staying away from home. So, I was initially homesick. That was a period when I made a lot of friends and underwent a transformation. Fun started after class hours. College was all about getting marks.
How did you spend your time with friends?
There were several students like me from Kerala. We had rented accommodation. All of us badly missed homecooked food. We used to save money to have one grand dinner a weekend in a nearby five-star hotel where midnight feast was offered at a cheaper cost. Another interesting thing that we did was watching back-to-back vampire movies in theatres. All these activities pushed our bedtime to early morning.
Did college contribute to your acting career?
During every vacation, I experimented with my looks. Sometimes, I would try to gain weight or work out to burn extra calories. At other times, I would crop my hair or try different designs on my beard. By the time, I returned from college, I would ensure that I had a shower compliments from my friends. That was the time camera embedded mobile phones arrived in the market. We kept ourselves busy with it.
Tell us about your bond with teachers?
I was always seated between two studious classmates. Whenever my teacher asked a question, I managed to make it with the bits and pieces they signalled to me. All these earned me a place in the good books of the faculty until a practical examination. Usually, I cleared such examinations with the help of hidden chits copied from books. Once that did not work as the readings in the book and my examination paper did not match. I ended up getting caught and was rebuked by my teacher.
When I was in college second year, my girlfriend from school (now his wife) joined another college in Coimbatore. Working out a strategy, I was able to bring her there from my hometown in Kerala. And I still wish to maintain the secret.
Any embarrassing moments?
One particular vacation, we returned by the middle of a month. And we could not pay the rent early that month. Sadly, the scene at our rented home was shocking. An irate houseowner had thrown all our belongings outside as he we did not pay on time. The most painful part was letters that my girlfriend had written lay drenched on the ground.
Life, Camera, Action!
For Tovino Thomas, college was all about getting marks. What made life eventful were the after hours when he also found his friends for life